OT: Job 28:1-30:31
Well, I was a little disoriented today when I plunged into Job's discourse on mining. After 11 verses of poetic tribute to the art of getting jewels from the ground, Job contrasts the success of finding precious stones with the futility of finding wisdom. In verse 20, Job asks,
"Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?"
In verse 28, he gives God's answer:
"'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.'"
Simple, yet effective.
What got me today was when Job took a stroll down memory lane. Specifically, I was sobered by Job's lament in 29:4-6:
"Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
when God's intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil."
Those words gave me pause, b/c they pretty much describe how I feel right now. I feel very much in my prime; God's friendship blesses my house; my children are around me; my path is drenched with blessing; and I often imagine that God daily pours the oil of blessing on my head. That is an actual recurring image I have.
When in such a position, Job "thought, 'I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand. My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches'" (18-19). It is so easy for me to become deluded into thinking that this state of blessing will last forever. And yet, I know full well that it probably won't. In fact, one of the reasons I blog regularly about my family and why I take a borderline obsessive amount of pictures is because I view such activities as somehow cupping my hands and saving a small amount of that oil of blessing. I bottle the oil in my blogs and my scrapbooks to have at a later date, should I ever be in need. I am all about planning ahead.
And until that day, I want to never take for granted this time of my life. I pray to God that a Job-like scenario never comes to pass, but if it does, I don't want to look back with regret. I don't want to rue, like Job does here, my prideful assumption that such blessings would last forever. Instead, I want to treasure them as the temporary joys that they probably are.
2 Cor. 2: 12-17
Wow, six verses. That is a record!
I like verses 14-15: "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." I like that imagery.
We have a popular song based on verses 1-2 of this psalm. I think, though, that my understanding of those opening verses is deepened by the context of the whole song. The reason that David thirsts so desperately for God is that he is in the midst of sorrow and struggle. As much as I tend to want to avoid sorrow and struggle (see: my OT thoughts), I do recognize that they tend to be powerful conduits between man and God.
As much as we would avoid them if we could, our darkest times often end up blessing us by connecting us much more deeply with God.
"The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender."
As one who has been fantasizing lately about paying off my mortgage, I can vouch for the second part of that proverb:).